I’ve decided to end the whole thing about the sports award. Well, sort of.
You see, I’m willing to believe that Mr. Burch was not sidelined for public criticism of the Government. I’m willing to accept that the issue was handled horribly by the Government, so horribly that it left it open for interpretation. I can accept that.
But my whole thing though is that if that is the case, and truly I would sooner believe that than government persecution of an athlete, then why hasn’t the Government just come out and calmly explained the whole situation? How come foresight wasn’t used to predict how this thing would be percieved? Why was the whole thing compounded by spin and not frankness?
It shouldn’t be up to the individual citizen to go about playing detective work to get an idea of what really happened. And quite frankly very few citizens are actually going to go and do that. And that really is the message I’ve been trying to get across to the Party in my criticism of this. Perhaps my approach, of trying to provoke openness wasn’t the best one, but honestly, I’m tired of seeing all these failures to anticipate fallout, of stumbling from one avoidable mishap to the next.
We have the technology now to put press releases right into the public domain where people can read them verbatim rather than read what the media filters. Of course we should still employ critical thought with these, but it would help to make the media more accountable. And the Government for that.
Having said all that, bearing in mind my own opinion of what really happened (which is not as sinister as it appears), even what I think probably happened should not have happened, and it exposes some problems that the Party has yet to address adequately.
One of them is the growing perception that the Party is intolerant of criticism, any criticism, and that people will be punished for doing so. I personally continue to believe that is not the case, but that is certainly the growing perception. And sometimes thats all is needed, especially in a society that has such fresh memories of such repercussions.
Another major problem of the Party so far is in responding to these crises. I am no fan of spin, but I really am shocked at the poor disaster management responses to many of these problems. Sure, with modern technology there are things you are not going to be able to control. But this only strengthens the need to be honest, open and willing to engage. Ideally we should be doing that anyway, but with so many uncontrollable variables today its even more important to just tell the truth. Sometimes the truth is more bizarre than the fiction, but if we want to develop political maturity, the open, frankly honest truth is the only way forward for our people.
One key problem that will increase its threat to the Party is the growing frustration with its moving on grassroots concerns. Grassroots supporters will never vote UBP, and they will continue to vote PLP as long as the choice is between them and the UBP. But this should not be looked at as a mandate to govern, its more of a win by default. Small, apparently trivial things, like the sports award, they can have long lasting consequences, way beyond what one might originally predict. The risk is in the development of a perfect storm situation, where one small thing is enough to trigger a cascade effect leading to system failure. With the economic crisis the potential for a perfect storm increases, and so ever greater care must be taken to avoid mishaps like the recent one.
So with that, I’m willing to take a tea break from this fiasco. I hope this type of mishap doesn’t happen again.